Summary: There is great confidence that comes from knowing that we have eternal life right now. But what about the needs & problems of daily life? Jesus helped people when He was here on earth; does He still help us? Is He responsible for & responsive to His child
1 JOHN 5: 14-17 [LIFE, LIGHT & LOVE SERIES]
PRAYING WITH CONFIDENCE
It is wonderful to know that Jesus is God, and to know Him through His abiding-through His living- in our life. There is also great confidence that comes from knowing that we have eternal life right now. But what about the needs and problems of daily life? Jesus helped people when He was here on earth; does He still help them? Earthly fathers take care of their children; does the Heavenly Father respond when His children call on Him? Is He responsible for and responsive to His children?
If we will abide in Christ and live and ask according to His will, God answers and gives us our needed requests (CIT). He does this so that we can live in righteousness and walk with Jesus, learn His ways and experience His life.
I. CONFIDENCE IN GOD'S WILL, 14-15.
II. PRAY FOR SINNING BRETHREN, 16-17.
Let’s back up to read verse 13 where we encountered a life-changing result that the assurance of our eternal life gives us; which is a confidence and boldness in our permanent relationship with God. “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.” Out of that assurance of our permanent relationship with God we can have boldness in prayer. Verse 14 is an astounding, an amazing, invitation to ask God for anything that lines up with His wise will. “ And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
Prayer is both a privilege and an obligation. It is the direct line of communication between the spirit of man and God. It is the means by which we lift to Him our burdens concerning both ourselves and others. As children of God we approach Him directly, without the aid of any other person or thing.
What a privilege it would be if each of us had a DIRECT HOT LINE into the Oval Office at the White House, so that when we dial the one answering would be the President of the United States himself. Every believer in Christ has such a line to the Throne of Grace, and the one who answers the call is our Heavenly Father.
The privilege of prayer is all the more precious because of the confidence which we have before Him. Confidence means freedom of speech. We can freely come before- into- the Father's presence, and freely tell Him our needs.
In what are we to have this confidence? We are to be confident or have assurance (parrçsia) that “if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” The if refers to what we ask, not to God's answering. According to His will is the gracious limitation because God's will is always best for His children. Prayer is not for getting your will done in heaven but for getting God's will done on earth. God is willing to answer prayer if we are willing to ask according to His will.
Again the emphasis is on God's will, not our will. When we communicate with God, we don't demand what we want, rather we discuss with Him what He wants for us, for other, for our church and even for our nation. Christians, of course, discern God’s will through the Scriptures and ask accordingly. If we align our prayers to His will, He will listen, and we can be certain that if He listens, He will give us a definite answer. Pray with such confidence! Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance. It is laying hold of God's willingness to answer us.
The secret of spiritual victory over the world and keeping God’s commands is prayer. The Christian is entitled to ask God for help not only in the circumstances of life, but in keeping God’s commands.
Knowing that the Lord hears our prayers builds assurance that He will grant our requests. Verse 15, “And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
The Christian who walks in confidence with God and prays according to His will knows that God has granted his requests. God impresses by His Spirit upon the spirit of man that He has heard. Now you may not see the answer to prayer immediately, but we have inner confidence that God has answered. This inner witness or faith is the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). It is God witnessing to us that He has heard and answered.
Notice John does not say that we necessarily receive the thing for which we prayed but that God responds to our requests or petitions. Through experience the Christian knows that if God does not grant the thing for which he asks, He gives something far better.